BCPL celebrates reading, community with month-long initiative
BC Reads kicks off on April 1
Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) is ringing in the spring with a new program designed to promote reading and discussion in communities across Baltimore County.
BCReads, a county-wide initiative, will kick off on April 1 and continue throughout the month with a variety of book chats, special speakers and family-friendly events.
The purpose of the event is to reach out to the wider community, promoting literacy, discussion and a deeper connection with local libraries.
While BCPL’s Summer Reading Club has, for decades, reached out to younger readers, the new BC Reads initiative aims to reach a wider audience.
Throughout the month, branches across the county — along with other county partners — will host events tied to this year’s theme — “Rise Up!”
The theme is intended to celebrate stories of rising up through adversity, learning and growing.
According to BCPL director Paula Miller, the theme was chosen, in part, as a reaction to the civil unrest in Baltimore and across the nation in the last year.
“This year we’re choosing the theme of ‘Rise Up!’ which reflects a little bit what happened last year at this time,” Miller explained.
As part of the month-long initiative, BCPL selected five books (two children’s books, a teen selection and two adult picks) that embody this theme. The books will be the subject of group discussions and most of the authors will appear at local libraries during the month.
The month will also include film screenings, poetry performances, a discussion of African-American fatherhood and several family events.
BC Reads, program coordinator Julie Brophy noted, “provides an opportunity for conversation … a different way of looking at things and an opportunity to connect with one another.”
While the theme speaks to the African-American experience, BCPL staff strove to choose books that are accessible to audiences of varied backgrounds.
“We wanted to try to find a way to reflect the AfricanAmerican experience, but we wanted to find books that speak to all of us,” Brophy said.
Books like the children’s selection “In My Momma’s Kitchen,” she explained, offer near-universal themes that allow most readers to reflect on their own background and experiences.
Throughout the month, BCPL will also be partnering with organizations to bring programming to as many audiences as possible.
“That really is a goal for BC Reads — to truly engage the county,” Miller said.
These partnerships include work with Towson and Stevenson universities and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
Through BC Reads, the Summer Reading Club and other initiatives, BCPL seeks to reach out to the community it serves.
“We sort of see ourselves as an instrument of democracy,” Miller explained, likening the branches to a “village green” where communities can come together, learn and share ideas.
BC Reads events at local branches include the following programs: